More people are traveling which means more crowding at the popular tourist must-sees. But are long lines in the heat/cold/rain/ with bored teens or cranky kids your vacation ideal? Probably not – vacations are supposed to be fun, interesting, exciting. There are “skip the line” tickets, but many times this just leads to another line inside. And what if weather mars a day you wanted to see an outside attraction, or you have to move touring to a museum on a rainy day when you had the day outdoors planned? Pre booked tickets aren’t going to give you the flexibility you need. Like it or not, there are occasions when an adjustment to well-laid plans is going to be necessary. Photo by Sam Solakyan on Unsplash
So, what is the solution? How CAN you have the perfect vacation experience that is not marred by wasted time, disgruntled family members, inclement weather, or inflexible prebooked tickets?
What I have found is counterintuitive to many who have handled travel details on their own before.
The best way to have the vacation dream where you get past the crowds I have learned on my own travels as luxury travel advisor, see spectacular locations at their optimum time in peace, be in places in their off-hours with no other tourists around or even get into places the general public cannot is to find a travel specialist with the relationship to smooth your way.
You maintain the greatest flexibility and really SEE and FEEL the places you dream of because an expert is in your corner making the magic happen for you. And all you have to do is relax and enjoy the journey.
6 Strategies I Have Used and Recommended to Clients that Get You Off a Line Sooner:
But, if you DO prefer to handle all the minute details of your trip, or just some aspects of it, check out my strategies below.
Find the right strategy for you that will maximize your time while traveling. Don't waste time on lines. Click To Tweet
#1 Be Up with The Sun
Sometimes there is no better way to see something in all its glory, honestly.
In Petra in Jordan I walked through the Siq as soon as they would let me, to get to the famous Treasury and experience it for myself in all its glowing rose glory. No crowds, no camel photo ops going on. I have put clients in hotels in Cambodia that gave best advantage to early access and the best photo opportunities at Angkor Wat. And the Caribbean-colored Bo Kemps neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa positively bursts in bright hues as locals and shopkeepers start their day at sunrise.
#2 Or Stay Up at Night
Iconic sites are magical when lit from below, and bathed in moonlight from above. The beauty of the Roman Forum from the Piazza Campidoglio is sigh-inducing. The area that stretches before you lights up ancient history all the way to the Coliseum. I feel the same way about Washington, DC when I lived there; the memorials are spectacular and even more accessible with fewer crowds. Romance abounds on a late-night ascent of the Eiffel Tower. And my favorite thing is many museums in the world are open at night one night a week. Hopefully, that night will be when you are there.
#3 Pass By with the Right Pass
In some top travel destinations and cities like London, Paris, and Vienna you can get museum passes (or a group of them) that let you sail right past the ticket line. Check out their Museum Passes that include a ton of museums and sites. Many are multi-day, or may include WAY more than you want. In this case, look for combo tickets to see if you can get a bundle of two, three, or four you are interested in. Be forewarned: some of the combos include related smaller museums, in addition to a major one but your bonus here is you get into the big famous one you are after, and maybe explore more in depth if you want at a small one. The big takeaway: purchase the combo ticket at the lesser-known museum where the line is most potentially smaller (or none). I bought a ticket on the line to the museums on St. Mark’s Square in Venice, and got to skip the line at the Doge’s Palace.
#4 Get Your Ticket in Advance
Purchase in advance a scheduled time to enter a museum. Some museums require this in its entrance policies. The Borghese Museum in Rome or the Uffizi Gallery in Florence are good examples: you COULD just show up to get an entrance ticket, but you will be told when you can enter – usually later.
#5 Look for a Work Around (2 ways)
If you are willing to do your research, there are a few tricks for skipping lines, ethically.
Hate that long line at the Eiffel Tower?
Consider climbing the stairs to the second floor and take the elevator from there. One evening I sent my husband to do this with my young son, not only for the experience, but to wear out that little bundle of energy. Climbing up, up, up in many cities to bell towers, domed roofs, tops of churches afford great vantage points and views (and fewer people). The top of the Duomo in Milan is architecturally spectacular, grants a great overview of the area around it, and can, on a clear day, grant you a view to the Alps.
Does the line at the main door of the museum you want to visit seem more than you (or your tired children) can bear?
See if there are lesser known entrances to other parts of the museum. When clients had a tight schedule in Paris and had to take the kids to the Louvre, I told them about my lifesaver – the door at the Porte des Liones. In NYC I would skip the front of the Museum of Natural History all together on a weekend and enter by the Earth and Space Center, or the 81st Street subway station.
#6 Beat the Bus Groups
This one is for you early-risers. To get tickets and on entrance lines at the big famous sites, get thee to the visitor center before it opens, especially if you have no needed reservation, or tickets are on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning, I’d love to help!
You can stay informed and inspired in planning your travel in 2018 by reading more of my blogs. You can also follow me on Facebook. Twitter @enlitndjrntrvl, and Instagram @enlightenedjourneystravel. Sign up to receive the blogs and a newsletter filled with more insights and offers so you don’t miss a thing.